8 bedtime stretches for a better night’s sleep

Sometimes it can be a challenge to switch off at the end of a busy day, let go of our stress and prepare for sleep. Stretching has been shown to assist in releasing muscles tension, promoting circulation, helping us to be mindful, slow down and relieve stress. A simple stretch before bedtime can help to prepare your mind and body for a restful night’s sleep. This routine can be completed just on the floor next to your bed, hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds, take slow, deep breaths and repeat on both sides.

A couple of other tips to help you get ready for sleep: Keeping the lights dim will help you to produce melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone). Avoid watching TV, looking at your iPad or phone at bedtime, as this light source can interrupt your bodies melatonin production and the flashing images can overstimulate your brain, making it harder to fall asleep.

 

Standing side reach (obliques, lats)

side reach

 

Stand up nice and tall with your feet hip width apart. Reach one arm overhead and bend towards the opposite side.
Seated hamstrings/ lower back

Seated forward fold

Sit down on the floor, put both feet out in front. Keep your knees straight and gently round your back and reach towards your toes. You might only make it to your knees – that’s fine! Stop wherever feels comfortable.

Seated neck stretch

neck and shoulders

Sitting up in a comfortable position, gently tilt your head to one side and the other, and then lower your chin to your chest, feeling the stretch through both sides and back of the neck.

Lying on back figure 4 (glutes)

lying glutes no words

Roll onto your back, make a ‘figure 4’shape with your legs by placing one ankle on your opposite knee. Gently pull the legs towards you until you feel the stretch in your glutes (bottom and deep hip muscles)

Lying lower back twist

side rotation

 

Lying on your back take one leg up straight in the air towards the ceiling. Gently let the leg fall across your body until the foot touches the floor – or as close as you can get it comfortably. A bent knee and a pillow for it to rest on gives you a more gentle alternative. Keep your arms open wide with palms up to also include a nice chest stretch.

Side-lying quads

side lying quads no words

Roll onto one side, bend your top knee and pull your foot up towards your bum, feeling the stretch through the front of your leg. If you’re not feeling it, you can also push the pelvis forward to extend the hip a little extra.

Cobra stretch (abs) – be cautious if you have lower back injuries

abs cobra

Roll over onto your tummy. Place your hands below your shoulders in a ‘pushup’ stance, keeping hips on the floor gently push up and extend your spine until you feel a stretch through your abs.

Childs pose (lats, shoulders, back)

childs pose

Keep your hands on the floor and sit your bottom back onto your heels. Lower your forehead to rest on the floor and reach your arms out as far in front as is comfortable.

 

Now crawl into bed for a great, restful night of sleep!

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